2023 Dorothy Riker Hoosier Historian Award Winners Tom and Marty Davis

Every year, the Indiana Historical Society (IHS) recognizes outstanding individuals and organizations whose efforts have enriched the lives of others by conveying awareness and appreciation of Indiana’s history on local, regional and statewide levels.

“These individuals and organizations have led and inspired so many Hoosiers with their passion for history, sharing their knowledge and work with others throughout their communities and across the state,” said Jody Blankenship, president and CEO of the Indiana Historical Society. “We are excited to be able to present these awards to the recipients in person, congratulating them on their efforts and showing them how valuable they are.”

Crown Hill Foundation is proud to announce that the 2023 winner of the Dorothy Riker Hoosier Historian Award will go to Tom and Marty Davis. They have both dedicated their work and volunteer hours to the history and interpretation of Crown Hill Cemetery. The relationship Crown Hill Cemetery has with the Crown Hill Foundation has put the site in the forefront of rural, or garden, cemeteries. It is partly because of the work and dedication Tom and Marty Davis have given Crown Hill that has made this possible.

Tom Davis has spent more than 20 years volunteering his time researching those buried in Crown Hill Cemetery. His first decade he served as a guide, conducting research and reading the novels of Hoosiers interred here. In the process, he compiled hundreds of pages of research notes, which he has used to develop dozens of tours and become the cemetery’s historian. Tom’s research provides a majority of the historical continent that is used on our social media platforms and newsletters and is used to produce new tours.

Marty Davis, who recently retired after 40 years working at Crown Hill Cemetery, has worked with her husband Tom to create our events and tour programming. Marty started her career at the cemetery in the service yard. She moved positions to assistant PR director, then then PR director of the Crown Hill Heritage Foundation. Over the years, she worked as public relations and tour coordinator, graphic designer, photographer, social media manager, and event planner. Her contribution to Crown Hill has been invaluable. Many of the images that are seen of Crown Hill are taken through Mary’s lens. There is no way to describe all that she has done for Crown Hill.

Even after retirement, Tom and Marty have continued to work with Crown Hill. They assist with social media posts, photography of the site, and the Crown Hill electronic newsletter, while Tom still works as a tour guide. Current and future Crown Hill employees rely heavily on the works created by both Tom and Marty. Their commitment and love for Crown Hill has been invaluable to the work that we do.

The Dorothy Riker Hoosier Historian Award is named for Dorothy Riker, who was a 50-year employee and editor for the Indiana Historical Society and the Indiana Historical Bureau from 1929 to 1979. This award is made annually to a historian who has made distinguished contributions to the field of historical scholarship, including presentation, use of materials and preservation, or the affairs and activities of the IHS.